Bernard Powell. Photo: Kansas City Missouri Parks
The Bernard Powell Memorial. Photo: Kansas City Missouri
Parks and Recreation
1947 – 1979
Bernard Powell was a leader in local and national efforts to end racial discrimination and increase the political and economic power of African Americans.
Powell joined the NAACP at age 13. After graduating from Central High School in 1965, he joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Selma-to-Montgomery March.
He later became regional director of the Congress of Racial Equality. In the wake of the April 1968 assassination of Dr. King, Powell established the Social Action Committee of 20 (SAC-20) to provide leadership skills to young African Americans. For these and similar endeavors, he received many honors including the Jefferson Award for Public Service. Powell was shot to death in 1979 at age 32.
The Bernard Powell Memorial, a life-sized bronze statue within a fountain in Spring Valley Park, commemorates his life and legacy.